Bishop: Par­ents wary of let­ting sons be­come priests

Irish Examiner - - News - Dan Buck­ley

The Catholic Arch­bishop of Dublin, Diar­muid Martin, has said many par­ents are re­luc­tant to al­low their sons to be­come a priest be­cause of the dan­ger of be­ing wrongly ac­cused of child abuse.

He was speak­ing af­ter the or­di­na­tion of two priests to the dio­cese yes­ter­day.

“Many par­ents would be re­luc­tant to en­cour­age their chil­dren to come for­ward,” Arch­bishop Martin told Pat Kenny on Newstalk Ra­dio, adding that many cases of abuse go back decades.

“Thank God most of the cases that come to light today are deal­ing with a known face, a small group of 10 to 12 se­rial pae­dophiles who were ac­tive in the Dublin dio­cese over a long pe­riod of time to­gether.

“And, be­cause of the strict norms that we fol­lowed, I think we have man­aged to move for­ward on those cases.

“It is not to be ex­cluded that other cases will come for­ward and what we do find is that cases are com­ing for­ward which go back many, many years and where it is very hard to judge whether this is a valid ac­cu­sa­tion or not.

“You can see that in the other scan­dals in the en­ter­tain­ment world where cases are com­ing for­ward af­ter 40 years.”

The arch­bishop also said he had no ob­jec­tion to the As­so­ci­a­tion of Catholic Priests (ACP) giv­ing its mem­bers a memo of in­struc­tions to fol­low in the event of an al­le­ga­tion of sex­ual abuse be­ing made against them.

The guide­lines were un­veiled by the ACP at its re­cent an­nual gen­eral meet­ing, af­ter con­cern within the group that some mem­bers who have been falsely ac­cused in the past have not re­ceived ad­e­quate sup­port from their su­pe­ri­ors.

The ACP, which drew up the seven-step in­for­ma­tion card fol­low­ing ear­lier meet­ings with the Na­tional Board for Safe­guard­ing Chil­dren in the Catholic Church in Ire­land, also spoke of its con­priests... cern over what it sees as a “guilty un­til proven in­no­cent” cul­ture, which it claims has left many in­no­cent priests trau­ma­tised.

Arch­bishop Martin said: “I have no ob­jec­tion to peo­ple hav­ing a card like that. It is a hor­rific ex­pe­ri­ence for me to have to speak to a man who has been ac­cused and watch the re­ac­tion, whether that al­le­ga­tion be true or false.

“Cer­tainly, if it is false, it is a real tragedy.”

Pic­ture: John McEl­roy

Newly or­dained priests, Frs Bill O’ Shaugh­nessy, from Cas­tle­d­er­mot, Co Kil­dare, and James Daly, Shana­garry, Co Cork, with Arch­bishop Diar­muid Martin out­side St Mary’s Pro Cathe­dral Dublin, af­ter their or­di­na­tion cer­e­mony yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.